Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference to announce the Trump administration's plan to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a "foreign terrorist organization", Monday, April 8, 2019, at the U.S. State Department in Washington.
Administration officials have said the step will help to further isolate Iran and make clear that the USA will not tolerate Iran's continued support for rebel groups and others that destabilise the Middle East.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strident critic of Iran, has pushed for the change in U.S. policy as part of the Trump administration's tough posture toward Tehran.
Pompeo and Hook said that 603 troops killed in Iraq since the United States invaded in 2003 - or 17 percent of the total U.S. death toll - could be attributed to Iran.
Critics had warned that such a step could open USA military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly countries.
The US has in the past blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organization as a whole.
"We need to call out today's move for what it is: another risky and self-defeating tactic that endangers our troops and serves nothing but the Trump administration's goal of destroying the Iran deal", it said. While the accord does not specifically ban those tests, USA officials have said they violate the spirit of the deal.
Iran's Supreme National Security Council says it has designated the United States Central Command, also known as CENTCOM, and all its forces as terrorist and labeled the U.S.as a "supporter of terrorism". Foreign individuals and companies who do business with the IRGC-or IRGC-owned, -operated, or -affiliated businesses-can already be blocked from the USA financial system, have their assets frozen, or be subjected to lawsuits.
Netanyahu, who seeks reelection on Tuesday in Israel's parliamentary elections, wrote on Twitter in Hebrew on Monday following the announcement that Trump was "answering another of my important requests".
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Mr Pompeo said its response was to "counter the Iranian regime's terrorism" and "help the people of Iran get back their freedom".
"IRGC Qods Force activity has been uncovered and disrupted in Germany, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kenya, Bahrain, Turkey, and others", the White Hosue disclosed in announcing the designation.
"The IRGC is the Iranian government's primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign".
IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari also chimed in on Sunday over the pending USA designation, warning the us military would lose all the security it enjoyed in west Asia.
Military officials cautioned the designation could incite violence against United States forces in the Middle East without severely impacting Iran's economy.
The decision came after Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged President Hassan Rohani to place CENTCOM on Tehran's list of "terrorist" groups. Monday's designation includes the IRGC's zealous Quds Force, led by the elusive commander Qasem Soleimani and considered Iran's most potent foreign paramilitary organization. Tehran denies the charges.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was formed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with a mission to defend the clerical regime, in contrast to the more traditional military units that protected Iranian borders.
Critics had warned that such a move could leave United States troops in the region more vulnerable as a result. The IRGC is Iran's most powerful security organisation which also has control over large sectors of the country's economy and political system.